Thousands of people are injured every year as a result of slip and fall accidents. These accidents may be at a business, in an apartment building, or outside, such as near a construction site or on a sidewalk, for example. But what the settings often have in common is that the accident occurred on someone else’s property. Florida premises liability law indicates that a property owner must maintain the property and keep it in reasonable condition that is free of safety hazards and slips and falls. So, should you sue if you slip and fall when on such premises?
A property owner who is negligent in their property maintenance or upkeep may be held liable if someone slips or trips and then falls on their property based on premises liability law. Premises liability is a legal concept that means property owners and/or occupants are responsible when someone gets hurt on the property due to a harmful condition.
However, a property owner is not immediately held liable if someone slips and falls on their property; there are circumstances that often lead to suing the property owner. The business might have created a slippery surface, such as a tile floor that has recently been cleaned or waxed and did not post adequate warning signs, which led to someone slipping and falling. If the property owner or manager fails to maintain the property and address safety hazards, such as electrical wires that are not properly put away, and someone trips and falls, the property owner may be liable for their injuries.
Further, depending on the status of the visitor on the property, the ability of the person who has slipped and fallen on the property to sue the property owner will vary. Generally, someone falls into three categories when they enter someone else’s property, that of an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser.
Invitees are typically family members or friends the property owner has given express permission to enter the property. A licensee is someone who has expressed permission to enter the property but is coming onto the property for their own interests or activity, such as someone visiting a swimming pool or a salesperson. Both invitees and licensees are able to sue the property owner if they become injured due to a slip and fall in most circumstances. A trespasser is someone who was not given permission to be on the property and entered anyway. Typically, if someone is a trespasser on a property and slips and falls, the property owner is not liable for their injuries. The one exception to this is if a child enters the property due to something attractive about the property, like a swimming pool that is not fenced. This is called the attractive nuisance doctrine. For adults, however, this doctrine does not apply.
Florida follows the comparative negligence principle, meaning that the individual who has been hurt and the property owner may each be at fault for the slip and fall. Damages in lawsuits in which comparative negligence applies mean that the slip and fall victim will be awarded based on the percentage of fault. For example, if a slip and fall victim is twenty percent liable for the accident, perhaps they were distracted on their phone or failed to heed to other warning signs on the property, then their compensation will be reduced by that percentage.
It is critical to work with an experienced attorney who may help you navigate your slip and fall case. Depending on the details of your slip and fall accident, you may be able to win damages by filing a lawsuit. Contact us today if you feel you may need assistance.